ex-aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, INS Vikrant is converted
into a floating museum and rechristened Indian Museum Ship (IMS) Vikrant.
She is now anchored opposite to Middle Ground near Gateway of India in
Mumbai. It is precisely a five minute ride from Gateway of India. The Navy
extensively refurbished Vikrant and opened it to the visitors
during Navy Week in December, last year. During the period of a fortnight,
over one lakh people visited the ship. Pending formal conversion into
maritime museum by the Government of Maharashtra and considering the
overwhelming response from the visitors, the Navy has now thrown open Vikrant
to the public from January 12, this year on trial basis.
is with a view to meet the enormous demand of the public to see the ship
and also assess the economic viability of sustaining her, said Rear
Admiral Kocchar, Flag-Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Naval Area. A corpus
of about Rs 12 crore is needed to generate funds for the ship's annual
upkeep. Corporate sponsorships and contributions are welcome, he added
while addressing media personnel on board Vikrant.
The preliminary focus of the museum
was to highlight the role of the ship as the cradle of naval aviation in
the country. Subsequently, it was decided to expand this to include all
facets of naval activities so that the general public could get to see and
understand the Navy in all its hues. Specialised naval areas like diving,
naval operations, armament, missiles, naval uniforms and seamanship
aspects were therefore included in the gamut of artifacts, exhibits and
displays. The museum is now a microcosm of the entire Navy.
The museum will be further expanded
to cover naval operations in greater depth, depicting the glory of naval
victory in 1971 and the role of Vikrant in achieving this victory.
Also, other compartments of the ship that can be converted will be made
operational/functional as and when more funds become available.
- Cdr R Madhusoodanan